When Jo Hartley took Australian Writers’ Centre’s Freelance Writing Stage 1 course it totally changed her life. Today she calls herself a freelance writer and says she can’t imagine her life without writing.
“It’s part of who I am and it’s given me a definite outlet from being just a mum. If it wasn’t for the Australian Writers’ Centre I don’t know what I would be doing now – probably working in an office and certainly not as happy as I am now.”
Before the birth of her children, Jo was working in recruitment for a big engineering firm hiring blue and white collar staff.
“I had worked my way up from a trainee recruitment officer role but I had done the same thing for over four years and was definitely fed up.
“Prior to doing the course, I had never done any writing other than dabbling in writing a blog when my son was born. I started to find that writing the blog was becoming a mental and creative outlet for me, and I started looking forward to writing it more and more.”
Jo’s life-changing AWC course
“Then I signed up to the life-changing course Freelance Writing Stage 1 which had a HUGE impact on my life.
“I’d never done any kind of content writing or copywriting and definitely nothing for magazines or articles but now thanks to Australian Writers’ Centre, I am writing for multiple publications online and in print.”
Jo initially wrote a lot of parenting stories before broadened her horizons and writing more social, current affairs, lifestyle and wellbeing stories.
“I now write regularly for SMH sites; Daily life, Wellbeing, Essential Kids and Essential Baby, as well as SBS life, Kidspot and Body + Soul. In terms of print, I regularly contribute to Sunday Life Magazine and, prior to its closure last year was a regular features writer for Practical Parenting magazine. I have also written for the Sunday Telegraph, MiNDFOOD magazine and, more recently, The Saturday Paper. I’ve recently ticked off a major bucket list item with a wellness piece in Marie Claire. I’ve had a couple of near misses with ELLE, but that’s my next goal!”
Putting in the hard yards pays off
“I dedicated myself to writing properly about four years ago. I wanted to see if I could really make it work if I put in the hard yards. To see if it would give me the lifestyle that I wanted, some spending money, flexible work hours and being my own boss! I have now successfully ticked all of those boxes! And the best part is it’s doing something I love.
“The course has had a huge impact on my life and my writing. From a writing sense, it’s taught me the skills that I needed to write for magazines and online publications and it’s given me a part-time income where I can work around my two children.
“At the moment I work three days a week during school hours. I can drop off and pick up Thomas from school and attend any school events as and when necessary without having to explain to anyone, and I can take as long a lunch break as I like!
And Jo’s advice to those ready for a change…
“I would say, without hesitation, go and do Freelance Writing Stage 1. You will learn so much and it really can lead to a different career. It’s not false advertising! Sure, you definitely need to be hugely committed, tenacious and hard working to succeed, but with the skills and knowledge from the course behind you, there’s no better platform to spring off from!”
Congratulations Jo – we are thrilled for you.